Oxford Languages defines potential energy as “the energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.” Frequently, diagrammatic illustrations of potential energy depict objects poised on the cusp of change—a hammer just before it is slammed onto the head of a nail, or a taut bowstring just before releasing an arrow. While some of these illustrations also depict the change actually happening (kinetic energy) and then the result (mechanical energy), the illustrations of potential energy alone capture moments of suspended animation that are locked in time. They are neither at rest nor in motion; they are just barely incomplete, forever.

As an artist, I perceive potential energy as a realm that is teeming with possibility. It is at once pause and brevity, infinitude and desolation. I aspire to achieve this provocative sense of stasis within both my materials and images.

Working nearly exclusively in drawing, each of my works are constructed from 8.5”x11” sheets of paper that are glued together to create a larger surface, and then repeatedly folded down to a fraction of its total size. The drawing, most often done with graphite, is then carried out on the fully unfolded surface, now layered and weathered with creases. The accessibility and familiarity of the pencil and US Letter-sized sheets of paper evokes a universal understanding of legality and formality: documents, letters, office spaces, sketches, publications, classrooms, etc. However, the folding of each work evokes a different sensibility that is more reminiscent of urgency, care, and mobility. What are the documents and letters and sketches that we must hold onto, at all costs? What are the things we fold up in order to tuck away, or to carry with us? What stories do we safeguard within folded pages, and what does it mean to expose or display them for others to view?

There is palpable tension here between the standardized sheet of paper as a unit of construction and the drawn image that is folded up and concealed. This tension—this potential energy—resonates deeply with my family’s history as refugees from Laos and Vietnam, but also with my own lived experiences as a queer individual navigating the complex landscape of the United States and my sense of home. In both contexts, there is a ceaseless pervasiveness of infinite possibility, a perpetual condition of unknowing and unreckoning.

The images that I draw often depict the home at night, because it is a site that is full of potential energy. The nocturnal architecture of the home is fundamentally an architecture of memory: the memory of light, of sound, and of activity. In the absence of these things, there is a possibility for more. When will the light, sound, and activity return? After the sun rises? In the dead of night, we sit still, contemplating promises that only the future will bring, dimly lit by the stars and surrounded by the only other creatures still awake with us: moths, mosquitoes, and other nocturnal insects. Like the potential energy of their surfaces, each drawing holds tension within its imagery as well. The home at night is both eternal and fleeting. It is a space of both self-isolation and a desire for connection.

For my family and myself, this in-betweenness is undeniable and inevitable. We are neither at rest nor in motion; we are just barely incomplete, forever.


MFA Student (Painting & Printmaking), Yale School of Art

BFA (Painting), Rhode Island School of Design

Brown University


why do i always fall out of bed at night?, Green Hall Gallery, Yale School of Art - New Haven, CT

The I Has to Travel, Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery - New York, NY

(Im)material Ruins, Asia Art Archive in America (AAA-A) - Brooklyn, NY

Speeding Up, Slowing Down, Kunstraum LLC - Brooklyn, NY

Another’s Table, Textile Arts Center (online)

Word, Image, Object, Action, Transmitter - Brooklyn, NY

Subtle Speaks, Textile Arts Center - Brooklyn, NY

Smear Frames, Design Center, RISD - Providence, RI

In the Mood for Love, RISD Museum - Providence, RI

You’re Invited: Sleepover, RISD Museum - Providence, RI

-isms, Design Center, RISD, Providence - RI


Leadership Camp: (Im)material Ruins, Asia Art Archive in America (AAA-A) - Brooklyn, NY

Southeast Asian Artist Fellowship (online)
, The Alternative Art School (TAAS) & MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

City Artist Corp Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) (received in partnership with curator Sarah Sloan)

Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Alumni Microgrant

Artist in Residence, Textile Arts Center - Brooklyn, NY (2019-20)

Becky Westcott Memorial Painting Award, RISD Painting Department

RISD Parents Council Fine Arts Internship Award

Summer Fellowship, Anderson Ranch Arts Center - Snowmass Village, CO